November in Eastern Europe begins the winter season. Christmas markets begin to appear in major cities towards the end of the month as temperatures drop. If you travel to Eastern Europe in November, you'll want to dress warmly and plan to take in museum exhibitions or shows.
Hotels and flights to most Eastern European destinations will be less expensive in November, and lines for attractions will be shorter. Although the weather will be cold and snowy in many of these cities, there's still plenty to do and see before things really start ramping up for the holidays in December.
Here are some of the important dates celebrated in Eastern Europe during the month of November.
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November 17 is the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which began the end of what was then the country of Czechoslovakia. Now called Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day, this event is considered the most important of all Czech holidays. It's celebrated in Prague with a candle-lighting ceremony in Wenceslas Square, where wreaths and flowers are laid at the victory plaque, and a parade.
November is a good month to visit Prague's history museums, such as the City of Prague Museum, and especially the Museum of Communism, which exhibits original films, photographs, artwork, and historic documents that showcase this chapter in the Czech Republic's history.
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Warsaw in November
November 1 and 2 are All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, which are celebrated in Krakow and across Poland. On the night between the two days, it is believed that the spirits of the deceased visit the living. Visitors can look forward to events associated with the jazz festival associated with this important Polish holiday.
All Saints' Day traditions include decorating cemeteries with thousands of candles, which Polish people use to honor deceased family and friends.
November 11 is Independence Day, the date Poland celebrates the date when the Second Polish Republic was restored in 1918.
November 29 is Andrzejki, or St. Andrew's Day. There's a history of fortune-telling on St. Andrew's Eve that dates back to the 1500s. Young women would have their fortunes read to see when they would find a husband.
Modern-day varieties of the St. Andrew's Day celebration are lighthearted and social and keep up the traditional game of young women lining up their shoes, single file, near a doorway. Legend has it the woman whose shoes cross the threshold first is the next to be married.
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November 1 is All Saints' Day in Hungary. Residents of Budapest pay their respects at graveyards all over the city. For visitors, the cemetery on Fiumei Road has mausoleums and gravestones dating back to the Magyars, providing a look at the culture and history of the area.
Two festivals – the St. Martin's Day Festival and the Festival of New Wine and Cheese – are hosted by the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture.
The Budapest Christmas market opens in late November on Vorosmarty Square.
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Krakow celebrates Independence Day on November 11 with a mass at Wawel Cathedral, and a procession from Wawel to Plac Matejko, where there's a ceremonial laying of wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Festivals during the month of November in Krakow include the Etiuda & Anima Film Festival, the Zaduszki Jazz Festival, the Festival of Polish Music, and the Audio Art Festival. The Krakow Christmas market opens towards the latter half of November, making this is a good time to get some early holiday shopping in.